LIBERTY COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – When Kit Davis heard that the House of Prayer Christian Church in Walthourville was searched last week by the FBI, she wasn’t surprised.
When she heard a veteran’s group had filed a complaint against the church and several other affiliated churches awhile back, she wasn’t surprised either.
“They prey on the military, and I know this firsthand,” she said.
Davis lives near Tacoma, Washington, and was once a member of an affiliated church. That church in Tacoma was also searched by federal agents last week along with another church in Texas and another church in Georgia in Augusta.
“I honestly think they’re looking for the fact that they have been taking advantage of so many people financially,” said Davis.
Davis charges that the churches are cults and says it took her several years to escape from the influence of church leaders, one of whom was the man who eventually started the church in Walthourville.
When the searches were conducted last week, the FBI provided little information on why the raids were taking place.
It is known that the nonprofit organization, Veterans Education Success, filed a complaint in 2020 with the Veterans Administration (VA) and Georgia’s Department of Veteran Services. The complaint alleges that the House of Prayer Christian Churches are allegedly engaged in criminal activity and operate like a cult to manipulate veterans into providing money to the church.
Davis says congregation members are trained to seek out veterans as new members.
“They teach you what people to look for military are naturally very distinct, if you meet one, you’re supposed to befriend one because you’re supposed to become their family,” said Davis.
The complaint says the churches are often established near military bases. For example, the Liberty County is near Fort Stewart.
“They seek the military because they’re already vulnerable, they’re away from home and then the church higher ups are the ones teaching them, saying keep your GI bills, etc.,” said Davis.
The complaint claims the churches target veterans to access GI Bill funding, VA Disability Compensation and VA Home Loans.
The FBI provided no new information on why the searches were done or what may have been found by agents.
“My hope is that this all gets exposed, and everything just gets shut down,” said Davis.